Les Miserable: The Would Be Classic
Les Miserable was written over a span of 17 years by a Frenchmen named Victor Hugo. Les Miserable is set during the French Revolution and shows the reader life through the eyes of an ex-convict [Valjean] just trying to make his wrong doings right. Les Miserable is not a classic because it is unlovely, unjust, only somewhat pure and honest, and has mixed reviews, but on the contrary it is truthful.
To start with, one of the reasons Les Miserable is not a classic is because of Hugo’s unlovely way of writing. An example of this writing is shown through Cosette, a little girl given up by her mother in order for her [Cosette] to survive (Hugo 120). The writer also says that her happiness and youthful beauty is taken away by the Thenardiers [the people who took her in for money]. The Thenardiers made her work long hours with no pay and barley any food. Hugo says that she is fed better than the dog, but not as well as the cat (Hugo 118). Cosette is thin and dressed in rags (Hugo 120).
Fantine's , [Cosette's mother] death is described in an unlovely way. Hugo tells the reader:
Fantine raised herself in bed with a bound, supporting herself on her stiffened arms and
on both hands: she gazed at Jean Valjean, she gazed at Javert, she gazed at the nun, she opened her mouth as though to speak: a rattle proceeded from the depths of her throat,
her teeth chattered, she stretched out her arms in agony, opening her hands convulsively,
and fumbling about her like a drowning person; then suddenly fell back on her pillow. Her head struck the head-board of the bed and fell forwards on her breast, with gaping mouth and staring, sightless eyes. She was dead. (Hugo 208-209)
This selection from the end of the first section of Les Miserable is awful for the reader. Hugo introduces Fantine as a mother who tries her whole life to become an honest woman again, but dies when Javert kills her last hope of ever getting Cosette (Hugo 135).
Similarly, the death of Gavroche is unlovely. He [Gavroche] is first presented to the reader as a messenger in a rush to get back to battle. He [Gavroche] makes the mistake of giving a suicide, from Marius, to Jean Valjean instead of Cosette (Hugo 764). Gavroche gets back to battle and begins to sing a mocking song within earshot of the enemy (Hugo 765). This causes a huge distraction, long enough for the rebels on Gavroche’s side to fix the barricade, but in the end the enemy kills him [Gavroche] (Hugo 769).
Marius' suicide note to Cosette is unlovely. The note from Marius to Cosette is heart-wrenching. Hugo gets the reader acquainted with Marius and lets the reader be hopeful for Cosette and Marius to eventually be together, then he [Hugo] throws an ambush. The note reads, "I die. When thou readest this, my soul will be near thee" (Hugo 764-765). This is traumatically unlovely to the reader because the note was intercepted by Valjean. Cosette (who loves Marius) will never know what...